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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Are Magicians Actors? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Michael Peterson
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Don't we all have magic characters that we portray? I think that would qualify as acting.

I totally agree with Saydean on this.



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Saydean
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Thank you Ichazod. I really dont want to upset anyone with this as I feel both fields require study, rehearshal and a dedication to the art. To say that one is less than the other is not the point. They both go hand in hand and magicians who act are well rounded as are actors who do magic.
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Burt Yaroch
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Quote:
On 2002-03-07 20:14, Ichazod wrote:
Don't we all have magic characters that we portray?


No. We don't. And that was precisely my point. There are those in the field of magic who do not aspire to be actors, just magicians. And even if we all did have such visions, acting does not make an actor (professionally speaking).

The fields are separate, not synonomous. Complementary, to be sure, but not the same.

If you don't believe me, look at your business card. Does it say actor or magician?

But lets not bicker and argue over who killed who... Smile

Having said all that I suppose you can call yourself whatever you wish, and that's just fine. It was just another of the peculiarities that surfaced as I delved deeper into the realm of magic and I thought it would be fun to kick it around. Thanks for all the opinons. I still like all you magician/actors. Smile
Yakworld.
Saydean
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Ditto Dude Smile
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Quote:
If you don't believe me, look at your business card. Does it say actor or magician?


Mine says "entertainer."
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Jim Morton
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Quote:
The fields are separate, not synonomous. Complementary, to be sure, but not the same.

If you don't believe me, look at your business card. Does it say actor or magician?


I reiterate that, while I agree that they are not synonymous, they are definitely not separate.

You can't become a good magician without developing a good performance, and you can't (or, at least, it isn't likely) develop a good performance without developing your performance skills. I don't think you'll disagree with me so far, right? So how do you develop those performance skills? One really good way is to study acting.

As for whether or not our business cards say magican or actor (mine says neither, actually), I think you miss the most important part of the equation: That is that the audience should not know you are acting. I'll give you an example. Suppose you are going to float a dollar bill. How can you increase the amazement of your audience? Well, you can act like you are as amazed by the effect as your audience is; or you can act like the effect requires some concentration on your part. If you get up and do either of these things in a broad and hammy way, you are going to lessen the effect. In other words, once the audience knows you are not sincere, you've lost them. You are not sincere! You know how the effect works, so any amazement or concentration on your part is pure artifice.

Phew! Sorry to rant. Yakandjak, I understand where you coming from on this, I just think that the topic is more complicated than "you are either an actor or a magician." No, they are not synonymous, but they are not exclusive either. Thanks for creating this interesting topic.

Jim
Burt Yaroch
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Agreed! Smile

"That Barney Rubble. What an actor."
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espmagic
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My two cents: acting requires skill, precision, knowledge, and a list of things that I won't bother to write here (those of you who know, well, you KNOW!). So does magic. There are similarities, and differences. But, unless you know what Blaine is like "in real life" you don't know if he is acting - it is easy to assume that he is exactly like the fellow we see on tv...actually, one magi I know told me (when I was younger) that I had to develop a "character" as a magician: he could be exactly as I was in "real life", but the benefit of having a "character" was I could turn him off when I was finished. Sort of like I was only acting...right, Marduke? <grin>
Steve Friedberg
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here's another thought: We're not actors...we're not practitioners...we're performers.

Let me explain. at the core, we're performing our magic. Beyond that, though, we're projecting a technical skill and communicating it through presence.

Performing embodies that skill, combining it with the ability to entertain. If you think of yourself as a performer, IMHO, you start the thought process going that may enable you to take your talent to the next level.

As for the issue of who's a professional...anyone who gets paid. I agree that doesn't automatically make 'em good.
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
Peter Marucci
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Interesting thread -- and a whole new take on semantics!

We act as if we are performing the impossible.

That makes us actors.

If we don't do that, then we're not magicians, either.

cheers,
Peter Marucci
TrainingMagi
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Of course magicians are actors! We are not any "better" than any other actors! We entertain. If you were going to tell someone something seemingly seriouse, and you no its not true, it is acting that makes the audience believe you are sincere, if the effect is sad, we ACT sad, if it is funny, we ACT amusing. The same thing goes for other actors, if a scene is funny, they ACT amusing, if it is serious, they ACT serious, if it is ad, then they ACT sad. Magicians are actors. I have found that magic has helped me in stage shows that do not involve magic, and the stage shows helped me with my magic. Magicians ARE actors, we ACT as though we have power, to make the impossible possible. Magicians are actors, we are just in a different catagory, just as soap opera actors are in a differnet catagory than horror movie actors, or action movie actors. Yes, magicians definetly ARE actors.

The new comer Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
Burt Yaroch
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Quote:
On 2002-03-13 17:11, TrainingMagi wrote:
If you were going to tell someone something seemingly seriouse, and you no its not true, it is acting that makes the audience believe you are sincere...


Then everyone who has a wife is an actor! Smile


Quote:
we ACT as though we have power, to make the impossible possible


And I think you might get a huge argument on this point TrainingMagi. If not an outright beatdown. I think there are very few magi who state or imply that they have some kind of special power.

And once again, actING does not make one an acTOR just as magishING does not make one a magishOR, at least not in my book.
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Then I think the first step in a educated argument in this subject is to ask yourself what an actor is TO YOU.


The new comer
p.b.jones
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HI,
I do not know for definite whether or not magicians are actors, but acting is a definite requirement of a good magician if you are in any doubt take a course in acting or performing arts and see how much your acts improve. many years ago (I was already a pro magician at the time) I did a course in performing arts at a local college and then did a Masters Degree in Performing arts
this helped my performances far more than any new tricks that I have ever purchased.
now this was not just an acting course it included Music, sound technology, lighting,
street theatre, Stage craft and much more.
well worth the effort for any performer in my opinion.

I at least think that I am an actor when I am performing my magic. my performing character projects the parts of my own personality that I concider people like and hides/holds back those which are least likable. even the tricks and presentations that I perform are designed to help my character be likable. For example I always like to open my adult cabaret with an item where I apperently do not understand how the magic works myself. this helps stop me coming across as a smart ar.e . the audience knows that I know, but likes the fact that I am humble and not out simply to show off.
thats my ramblings on the topic
phillip
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Couldn't of said it better myself.

Brandon Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
Peter Marucci
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Well put, Phillip. Smile
cheers,
Peter Marucci
Dave V
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Quote:
On 2002-02-20 18:25, yakandjak wrote:

No. Magicains are definitely not actors. David Blane. 'Nuff said.

My thoughts. What say you all?


If I wanted to stir up trouble, I'd take the approach that if Magicians are actors, then David Blaine is no Magician. But that belongs on another post, not here so I won't say it. Smile
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
christopher carter
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If I wanted to stir up trouble, I'd take the approach that if Magicians are actors, then David Blaine is no Magician. But that belongs on another post, not here so I won't say it. Smile


I'm curious as to why you think that Blaine is a poor actor. I recall quite vividly the way he played the Balducci Levitation on the first special. He made it believable that what his audience was about to see was something very special that might not work. When the man asked him if he had to meditate a lot to levitate, well that kind of reaction is only produced through ACTING.

--Christopher Carter
Stephen Long
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Quote:
On 2002-07-24 17:18, christopher carter wrote:
that kind of reaction is only produced through ACTING.


Sometimes.
I think in this instance, it was produced through a lack of presentation and acting.
He left a huge hole in his audience's view of him through his lack of any kind of acting which they filled with notions of the paranormal.
I suppose it's quite clever when you think about it.

In my opinion, although acting is most certainly involved in magic, I don't believe that categorises all magicians as actors.
I do beleive that all magicians are liars, and that a good magician is quite commonly a convincing liar as well.

Stephen
:coolspot:
Hello.
christopher carter
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Quote:
On 2002-07-24 20:27, Stephen Long wrote:

Sometimes.
I think in this instance, it was produced through a lack of presentation and acting.
He left a huge hole in his audience's view of him through his lack of any kind of acting which they filled with notions of the paranormal.
I suppose it's quite clever when you think about it.


You are quite perceptive, Steven. Sometimes extreme naturalism in acting styles does allow a person to 'fill in the blanks' as to his perception of the reality. But don't mistake an understated acting style with lack of technique. Many actors will tell you that film is more difficult than stage acting because the intimacy of the close up demands more honesty on the part of the actor. Regarding Blaine, his presentation of the Balducci Levitation was a masterpiece IMHO. Just because most magicians insist they can't learn anything from him doesn't mean that the perceptive few must follow suit.

--Christopher Carter
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